This week's cover story features Jeff and Christa Duggan, the husband-wife team that brought third wave coffee to Orange County in the form of the mad science spectacle known as Portola Coffee Lab. Read the story here and pick up a copy on newsstands now.
Here are a few interesting things we learned about the Costa Mesa-based coffeehouse:
* Portola's second location at Provisions Market in Old Towne Orange will be a stark contrast to the original Lab. There will be no traditional coffee equipment visible; instead, everything will be formatted for easy interaction between baristas and customers, giving it a feel more akin to a cocktail bar.
* The Portola team is trying to figure out how to make a blended, dairy-free milk that doesn't distract from the coffee, as soy or almond milk can. It will be some combination of cashews, almonds, dates and coconuts, a mixture complex enough it won't taste like any one of those ingredients.
* Ninety percent of Portola's coffee is direct trade, an astonishing amount for a shop of its size. While visiting Kenya in February, Jeff developed a partnership with the Ruthaka Cooperative, a group of farmers and processing mills in which 40 percent of managers are women. The Duggans plans to help upgrade the cooperative's coffee-cherry sorting beds, as well as other improvements.
Also, check out our slideshow of the baristas at work. All photos by Austen Risolvato.